Last week I made a quick jaunt to the farmer's market just to pick up some cipollini onions... I'm so afraid they're going to disappear one day and I'll be furious at myself if I don't grab some each and every time I can...so, after I cleared the guy out of his onion stash and $14 later (see my pretty centerpiece??? Flowers make some people happy, these onions make ME happy) we were off! It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the farmer had stuck a small bag of squash blossoms in with my onions. What in the world am I going to do with THESE I thought to myself? They were sure pretty, I could stick 'em in a vase, but I already had my centerpiece for the week. So I went researching and found some recipes for soup (not in the mood when its 80 degrees outside) and saw that some other folks stuff them and fry them, but above all else, I found out they have a very short lifespan…so whatever I was going to do, I better hurry up and do it fast! I didn't really want to go all out because I don't like to waste my time or precious other ingredients for something I don't enjoy, so I went simple. Because I'm not a squash blossom aficionado, I separated the squash from the blossom (I do know what to do with some squash after all, but you could certainly leave them intact and follow the recipe just the same) and stuffed them with a little ricotta cheese and some herbs, battered 'em and fried 'em. Even as I was watching them turn a beautiful golden color, I kept thinking to myself that this was going to be a complete waste of time and was going to be especially annoying when I have to pull up the grates off my stovetop to clean up all the grease splatters too! Dang farmer burdening me with these. Since my little bag only had five blossoms in it, three went to hubby, two to moi. Hubby and I sit down for dinner and he starts asking what in the world these little things are (yup-- a family full of skeptics) and I finally just go in for a bite..... BOY OH BOY! I had no idea these little babies could pack such a lovely flavor! They were so gooooooooooood. I immediately finished both of mine and since hubby hadn’t tried his yet—he was still working on his ribeye—I stabbed my fork right into one of his and swiped it! He could have the rest of my steak for all I cared—I just wanted the squash blossoms for dinner at that point! So, if you see these pretty yellow blossoms at the market, be sure and pick some up....and you OC people better get there early before I do--there's a good chance I'm gonna start snaking these too!
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh green onions or chives
pinch of salt
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 cup water
In a small bowl, sift flour, cornstarch and salt together. Whisk in water until well incorporated and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the squash blossoms. Gently rinse blossoms and remove stems (if desired). In a small bowl mix ricotta, herbs and salt. Gently open up one of the blossoms and put about 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture, gently stuffing it down into the cavity. Twist the end of the blossom to close it up nicely. You don't want the cheese mixture to leak out during the cooking process. Pop the blossoms in the freezer for about 10 minutes so the cheese mixture firms up for cooking.
Remove the batter and blossoms from the refrigerator and freezer. Add oil to a medium size skillet until it reaches about 1 inch up the side of the skillet. Over medium-high heat, heat oil until a small drop of the batter bubbles and begins to fry quickly. Carefully dip each blossom into the batter, coating well. If the batter seems too thick, gently rub it off, it only needs a light coating of batter. Drop each blossom into the oil and fry for about 1-2 minutes and then gently flip them over, frying an additional minute or two until batter is a light golden brown. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel lined plate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper, if desired and enjoy!
For those of you wondering what I did with the baby squash I removed, they didn't go to waste I assure you. I roasted some baby carrots the same night and threw the squash in the oven with them. That recipe is coming....be patient.